If you suspect a case of child sexual exploitation or child trafficking report it to the authorities. Try to report as much specific information as you have about the perpetrator, victim, and location seen. Even if you do not have a lot of information, it is best to report it anyway. You may be contributing to a case that is already being investigated and your small piece of information might be the last piece needed to complete the investigation.
If the incident took place overseas, it is imperative you have atleast the following information. If it took place in America, the more detailed the information the better.
DO NOT APPROACH THE TRAFFICKER, EXPLOITER OR VICTIM
Traffickers are often involved with organized crime syndicates, and may be armed. If you try to rescue a victim directly you may be injured yourself. Contact the police and let them arrest the criminals.
DO NOT CONDUCT YOUR OWN UNDERCOVER INVESTIGATION
When arrested, exploiters often say that they were only there to help the child, rescue them, or talk them out of being ‘in the life’. If you try to go undercover and collect information you risk being arrested, or your actions may just interfere with an ongoing investigation.
ONLY COLLECT INFORMATION FROM AN ID IF IT IS NORMAL TO DO SO
It’s often required to show an ID when you check into a hotel, so the clerk at the welcome desk can supply police with information obtained from a driver’s license or passport without raising suspicion. If, in the normal course of business, you have reason to suspect a customer, client, guest, etc. is a trafficking victim or trafficker, retain a copy of that ID to supply to police. Many businesses and managers in the hospitality industry may feel uncomfortable doing this or allowing this, which is why it is important for such businesses to sign the Code of Conduct and have a proscribed policy and procedure for aiding police with investigating child sex trafficking cases.
Under the U.S. PROTECT Act, sex tourists can be prosecuted after their return to the U.S. for exploiting a child in another country. Many people don’t know about it or what to do if they suspect it is going on. Contact ECPAT-USA to find out more information.
To report a suspected case of human trafficking (either adult or child) in the United States, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at: 1-888-3737-888
To report a case of child sexual exploitation or pornography in the United States, call the National Center on Missing and Exploited Children at: 1-800-843-5678
If you wish to report a tip anonymously, you can fill out a form online at the Polaris Project Website.